Bolika ( Good Morning in FraFra)

My favorite place to sit in the morning is outside the gates of the house on a concrete slab of a bench under a baobab tree. The yellow birds no one can name fly around a tall palm tree and at the fruit of the tree. Their fluttering wings as they eat remind me of humming birds those these birds are larger and more easily seen. As I sit, I see small boys carrying buckets of water on their heads to and from the bore hole. Everyone stops to greet me with good morning in FraFra. I have learned to reply, to offer them a good morning, to say I am well and thank you in FraFra. If I forget a work the small boys says it for me and waits until I repeat then he smiles. The women in the compound beside my house come out to greet me every day. They are pleased when I can answer them in FraFra. I can hear roosters and see goats foraging in the tall grass. I can also hear the mumbled voices from the compound beside me. This is the nicest of all mornings.

Sunday was market day, and I had arranged to meet a few of the volunteers who are posted near here. I said the magic word, cheese, and they all came. I had bought the cheese in a obruni (white man) store in Tamale expected to share. When I was a volunteer food and recent diseases were our favorite conversations. They devoured the cheese and even took pictures of each other eating it. I totally understood.

When they had left, I decided to walk to the internet cafe. My back has been horrendous since last week, and I walk as if I were a mobile question mark. I walk and rest then walk and rest again. I sat down on some steps, and the man at the stall beside me offered his stool, and I sat down. He asked where I was going and i told him. He offered to take me on the back of his motorcycle, and I accepted. It was wonderful, a ride up the whole street. I was reminded of my easy rider days and remembered how much I loved the wind as I rode.

Today was the first day of school. Here punctuality is in the mind of the beholder. I went to Kantia Primary with the crayons, pencils and sharpeners I had brought. Some students were still walking to school, some were sitting and eating while only a few were at the school. The bell was rung so they started drifting in. I went to primary 1 and gave then each what I had brought. Then I went to the pre-primary or nursery school as they call it here and did the same. The kids were thrilled at the new school supplies.

Last night all the lights went out in the village and a few neighboring villages. It was pitch black. I used my iPad for light and went outside on the porch. I could hear voices and the usual night sounds, and I sat there taking it all in for the longest time then dragged myself inside the hot house. I had brought a hand fan with me so I arranged it on my face and fell asleep. A couple of hours later the light and the air came on.

I am going shopping for cloth today and may be going to Kongo to see the chief, but mostly the day is still in the planning stages. I’ll finish here and wander the town a bit.

I have noticed that it is all familiar to me now.

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14 Comments on “Bolika ( Good Morning in FraFra)”

  1. Cuidado Says:

    What a wonderful time you are having! I’m sorry about your sore back though.

    I’ve been away too. My daughter had a new baby and I have her a hand for 8 days. She has a 19 month old too so really needed that extra hand.

    Isn’t African cloth the best! I love the bright colours.

    • Kat Says:

      Thank you! I have figured out it is the mattress so I am making some changes hoping the back will be better. It is driving me crazy.

      Congratulation! I cam only imagine a newborn and a toddler! I’m glad you were there.

      I am going shopping in the market today!

  2. Bill S. Says:

    Tuma, tuma. Naa, tumasum. Naa! It all comes back to me. How wonderful it is to return to a familiar place where you lived and worked. If only you could have thought,in 1971, “41 years from now I will be here again….” I look forward to your daily reports, and soon-to-be-released fotos.

    Could the cheese store be the same one in Tamale that in 1969 had oxtail soup on the shelves? Mmmmm…….

    This past week I have been emailing with Duane Okamoto, in Hawaii. I saw his picture and name on the Friends of Ghana website, and asked him if he had any contact with Pat Meehan. He said that he has lost contact with the Sports Group, but keeps in contact with Joe Friedman and Charlie Kolstadt. He’ll let me now if he finds Meehan.

    • Kat Says:

      I went to a store called Zacks in Tamale where I found lots of expensive goodies. The cheese, though, was such a hit!

      In one of my last letters from here I wrote that I was memorizing every sight, sound and smell so I would never forget Ghana. I never thought I’d get back here though I swore I would. I can’t believe it has been twice!

  3. Hedley Says:

    I am so glad to read that i am not the only one that uses the ipad as a very expensive torch.
    Your motorcycle ride sounds like a lot of fun and I will wait patiently for a report on a visit to the monkey sanctuary.

    • Bob Says:

      I hope you don’t burn it up 😉 I use mine as a night light not as a torch.

      • Kat Says:

        It was so dark, and the house is not all that familiar beyond the bedroom that I needed it to make my way to the front door.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I loved that ride.

      The monkeys are for the road back to Accra. I am leaving here on Monday to start my way back but sightseeing on the way.

      The iPad is a perfect torch!

  4. olof1 Says:

    I think the birds You’re seeing belongs to the Sunbird family. They are Africa’s answer to America’s hummingbirds.

    I don’t like reading that You have a back problem! I do hope that nothing is wrong after the second surgery You had! But then again I don’t hope You’re having new problems! But it could be as easy as a bed not good for Your back of course. I hope the problems goes away quickly!

    Your days sounds wonderful though 🙂 Who care about power problems when one can enjoy the surroundings and a nap anyway 🙂

    Have a great day and take care of that back of Yours!

    • Kat Says:

      They are beautiful and so filled with song. They go fast to and from the tree. I love listening to them and watching their wings.

      I think you are right, and it is the bed. I’m going to make some changes tonight and see what happens.

      Thanks, Christer!!

  5. Bob Says:

    The best parts of your trip is that you are living it as a native. Most of us don’t have that opportunity in our travels. You are lucky to have good friends that show you the real culture and how much it has changed over the years. I am thoroughly enjoying your posts.

    • Kat Says:

      Thank you, Bob.
      Yes, being in the village is so different from when I was here in town. It is so quiet I can hear the voices from the compound next door and even the sounds of goats and sheep.

      I am eatin a lot of Ghanaian food and loving it.

  6. MT C Says:

    Kat, it is beginning to sound as if you have found a new home. Enjoy it.

    Hips and backs can certainly shorten your stride and that gentleman was nice to offer the ride. I still would enjoy my motorcycle IF I had it here now. But am beginning to be of the age where I am thinking of converting it to a trike. LOL Not quite as stable as I used to be. I’ll bring it by when we are both back and give you a breezy ride around the Cape.


    • Kat Says:

      I’d love a ride around the cape on a motorcycle. I’d get one, but |I am prone to falling and a bike would definitely be a hazard though that one time was such fun.

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